Cycling sprints to third in opener

Cycling kicked off the collegiate road race season last weekend at the Frozen Toed Season Opener sponsored by Rutgers.

Erik Levinsohn ’12 dominated in the elite men’s ‘A’ field, claiming second in Saturday’s criterium.
Erik Levinsohn ’12 dominated in the elite men’s ‘A’ field, claiming second in Saturday’s criterium. - Todd Brenner, Executive Editor

Williams fielded 11 riders and walked away with 18 top-10 finishes to take third in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) Div. II team omnium and claimed fourth overall. After the weekend’s events, MIT is ranked first in the team omnium.

Saturday’s racing opened up with an early-morning individual time trial. The men’s ‘D’ squad was the first on the line, taking to the flat 2.2-mile out-and-back course in frigid, wet conditions. Thomas Bliska ’12 was the first across the line in 5:18.29, claiming fourth. Elliot Chester ’15 rolled in at 5:40.54 with Adie Mitchell ’15 close behind at 5:48.81; the pair claimed 18th and 25th, respectively. Will Edwards-Mizel ’14 came in at 6:09.29 to finish 17th in men’s intro, while Jane Wilde ’14 and Alice Stears ’15 came away with times of 6:34.40 and 6:43.64, respectively, good enough for eighth and 11th place in women’s intro.

Rookie Jenna Maddock ’15 impressed in women’s ‘C,’ as she rolled across the line in 5:39.12, claiming second in the category. In men’s ‘C’, veteran Ian Nesbitt ’13 put up a speedy time of 5:09.73, taking third. Teammates Ben Corwin ’15 and Henry Schmidt ’14 came across the line with times of 5:23.56 and 5:32.69, respectively. Corwin claimed 13th while Schmidt took 19th.

In women’s ‘B’, Amy Levine ’14 put up a time of 5:55.44, good enough for fourth. Captain Erik Levinsohn ’12 made his debut in the elite men’s ‘A’ division, speeding across the line in 4:45.04 to claim eighth.

The road race (RR) later on Saturday was held on a 13-mile course featuring rolling hills and a flat sprint finish. The men’s ‘D’ squad of Bliska, Chester and Mitchell stayed in the peloton throughout its two laps on the course, but as the pack drove to the line, Chester and Mitchell were mired in a spectacular crash that took out much of the main field. Bliska narrowly escaped the carnage to claim second behind a solo breakaway by Stevens’ Eric Palmer. Mitchell claimed 11th, with Chester just behind in 17th.

Edwards-Mizel finished the one-lap men’s intro race in 21st, finishing in the second chase group 1:10 behind the leaders. In women’s intro, Wilde stayed in contact with the pack despite strong performances from other rookies in the field. She finished in sixth, less than a minute behind the leader. Stears fought to stay with the pack, finishing in the second chase group 2:37 behind the leader to take 14th.

In women’s ‘C’, Maddock again gave a dominant performance, staying in contact with the peloton throughout her two laps. Despite a late two-person breakaway, Maddock and a small group were able to ratchet up the pace to finish under two minutes behind the leaders. She held on for fifth place. In the men’s ‘C’ race, Nesbitt was a driving force at the front of the pack. Despite setting a blistering pace, Nesbitt’s group was passed by a five-man breakaway, leading him to finish seventh with the first chase group. Corwin held his ground at the rear of the peloton, holding on to claim 17th. Schmidt suffered from cramps early in the race and did not finish.

Racing in the combined women’s ‘A/B’ field, Levine held her own within a strong field of national championship competitors. A strong breakaway by national RR championship bronze medalist Katie Quinn of MIT decimated the field, but Levine held on for four laps to finish at the back of the peloton, claiming 11th. In his men’s ‘A’ RR debut, Levinsohn held his ground in an elite peloton. The pack stayed together for much of the five-lap race, but a breakaway by top contenders Robin Carpenter of Swarthmore, Stuart McManus of Harvard and Adam Bry of MIT, was not pulled back. Levinsohn was in sixth over the line.

In Sunday’s criterium, an abbreviated roster competed in timed races on a short course featuring a steep climb to the finish. In men’s ‘D’, Bliska again delivered a strong performance, staying in contact with the leaders throughout the race. He would finish third, claiming his third top-10 finish on the weekend. In women’s ‘C’, Maddock was brought down early by a crash but quickly rebounded, gradually accelerating past the entire field.

“Jenna showed zero fear whatsoever,” Levinsohn said. “She fixed her bike at the pit and then proceeded to methodically destroy the competition on the way to the win.”

The men’s ‘C’ race also saw an Eph victory as Schmidt and Corwin worked together to outwit a talented field. With both men at the head of the peloton going into the last lap, Schmidt attempted to pull away on the edge of the road. Once he had drawn the leaders to his wheel, however, Schmidt slowed, allowing Corwin to pull ahead unmarked. Corwin held on for the win, as Schmidt cruised to 13th.

In women’s ‘A/B’, Levine again rode a tough race, finishing down a lap to MIT’s Quinn and Laura Ralston. Despite the breakaway, she finished a respectable fourth in the ‘B’ field. In men’s ‘A’, Levinsohn again took on a strong field of elite amateurs and professionals. While the pack stayed together for much of the 60-minute race, a late breakaway by Levinsohn and Bry of MIT rattled the field. Working together, Levinsohn and Bry pulled clear of the pack with only a few laps to go, giving either a shot at the win. At the line, Bry was in first with Levinsohn just inches behind in second. Carpenter, the ECCC men’s RR champion, finished just behind in third.

Cycling finished the weekend ranked No. 3 in Div. II and No. 4 overall, just behind perennial ECCC powerhouse MIT but ahead of heavily-favored squads from Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. The team will compete next at the Philly Phlyer series on March 17-18.

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